Elite Lawyer

Whistleblower Attorney Overview

Lawyer Representation in Qui Tam Lawsuits

Employees in the United States have a wide variety of rights, including the right to report an employer's illegal or dishonest actions or policies, as well as any concerns about workplace safety. Employers are prohibited from retaliating against whistleblowers who make these types of reports.

If you have been wrongfully disciplined or terminated after reporting wrongdoing by your employer, an employment law attorney can help you understand your rights and determine your options for pursuing damages. An experienced lawyer can work with you to ensure that you are compensated for the harm done to your life and your career.

Whistleblower Protections

There are a variety of state and federal laws which provide protection to whistleblowers who report violations of the law by their employers. Federal laws such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, the Clean Air Act, the Toxic Substance Control Act, the Solid Waste Disposal Act, and the Water Pollution Control Act protect employees who make complaints in good faith about violations of these laws to either their employer or a federal agency. Employees who have concerns about workplace safety are protected from retaliation for filing a complaint with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

While whistleblower laws may vary from state to state, employees are typically protected from retaliation as long as they make complaints in good faith, refuse to participate in the violations which they are reporting, and assist law enforcement in any investigations. Employers are prohibited from taking retaliatory action against whistleblowers, such as demoting, wrongfully terminating, or otherwise punishing an employee.

Qui Tam Actions

In some cases, a whistleblower who becomes aware of fraud committed against the government by their employer or another business or individual may file a lawsuit under the False Claims Act. This type of lawsuit is known as a Qui Tam action, and a whistleblower (known in these cases as a "relator") will be eligible to receive a percentage of the funds recovered from the offending party.

A person may be able to bring a Qui Tam action if they discover that a contractor has overcharged the government for work done, if a supplier has knowingly sold defective equipment to the government, or if a person or organization has otherwise obtained money from the government in a fraudulent manner. If a defendant is found to be liable, they will be required to pay penalties that are three times the amount of what was stolen from the government, and they may also be required to pay fines and punitive damages. Depending on the level of involvement by the relator and whether the government joined the suit, the relator may receive 15 to 30 percent of the damages recovered from the defendant.

If your employer has taken retaliatory action after you made a report of wrongdoing or safety concerns, or if you believe that you have information about fraud committed against the government, you should work with an experienced attorney to determine your best options. A lawyer can ensure that your rights as a whistleblower are protected, and they can work to help you receive the compensation you deserve.

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